Part of my grief has been a HUGE dose of frustration, anger… and, according to my husband I’m grumpy a lot. And I still hear his words: “you weren’t like that before”. Indeed, I wasn’t like THAT before: a mother mourning on child that she has just given birth to and mourning a mother who didn’t want the chance to ‘grand-mother’ her grand-child. Guess what? I am grumpy a lot. Guess what else? I will NEVER be that person I was before EVER AGAIN. Unfortunately.
I recently went visiting my friend who’s father passed away a year ago. Even though we were sitting in a beautiful serene landscape surrounded by forest, beautiful farmland and the sound of horses, my friend’s mother (who had lost her husband) seemed annoyed and grumpy at a lot of things. I asked my friend, whether her mother always was/is like that and – not to my surprise – I was told: ‘She’s like that since her husband died.’
So I’ve been wondering about the ‘frustration’ stage in grief and whether it is a long term condition for certain grievers. Luckily there is always something to get annoyed at: the person cutting in front in traffic, a friend no longer calling, vegetable going off in the fridge which was bought 2 days ago, glasses sliding down the nose because of the summer heat. Not all of those are my annoyances. Some are borrowed ones. So what about this energy of frustration? Is there a purpose? Is there a way out, away from, over it?
I remember being angry to the point of furious for 8 weeks straight 3 months after my mother’s suicide. That is the anger stage, I thought. Ok. Not so ok after 8 weeks of intense anger. One morning I just couldn’t take it anymore and wrote a hate letter addressed to the anger. I think I used a lot of the anger energy that morning and somehow it got a bit lighter. Still, the experience of frustration, which in the past I would have rated at 3 out of 10 on average nowadays is at 6 out of 10. Pretty challenging. I don’t enjoy it myself, let alone the people around me that are close enough to get the overspill effect.
I think I have stopped wondering where my ‘friends’ have gone. I do understand that this underlying frustration must also come out in my normal day-to-day life and people who knew the ‘before-me’ might not like the changes to the ‘after-or-during-grief-me’. I have also noticed that new friends seem less affected. Maybe they are able to take me as I am now and do not expect me to go back to who I once was.
In tears of frustration over the frustration I said to my husband: “You have the luxury to not be around me. I don’t. I am in the middle of all this.”